Dear Lowell Community,
I am glad that so many of you could join me at last night’s community meeting
. Today, I am following up with a few of the highlights and some important information about next year. I also want to thank you for your fantastic response to our recent current and new family surveys. The time and attention you gave to sharing your feedback gave us very helpful data, as well as invaluable insights into how your families experienced remote learning. We have looked at the survey results both in whole and by division, and we are already using the feedback to guide our planning and decision making for next year.
A strong partnership between the school and parents has always been a hallmark of Lowell, and we greatly value your steadfast engagement with us in these challenging times. As difficult as this moment feels for all of us, I am firm in my belief that there have already been and there will continue to be exciting opportunities for us to further the school’s mission and create deep and meaningful learning experiences for children in this new reality. I look forward to working with Lowell teachers and partnering with you as we venture forth.
Task Force Work
As I mentioned last night, I have convened a task force with 12 committees that will be working through the summer on all aspects of campus programming and operations:
- Auxiliary Programs and Services
- Campus Operations and Facilities
- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
- External Communications
- Finance and Legal Issues
- Health and Safety
- Management Team
- Teaching and Learning
- Technology Infrastructure
Using the District’s recommendations for reopening and CDC guidelines as the standard of care, their task is to ensure we are ready to begin school with a robust program in September whether we are able to open campus or not.
In past communications, I have shared three different scenarios for opening in September. All current information suggests a hybrid model, with learning happening on and off campus at the same time. This model will allow us to keep on-campus groups small, mitigate risk of infection, and also keep learning going for everyone by using remote platforms. This is the model the task force will be focusing on and planning for, and I will share more about the task force work at our next community meeting on June 18.
Contracts and the June 1 Binding Date
The June 1 binding date for enrollment contracts for the 2020-2021 school year is right around the corner. I understand that this date represents a significant commitment for families, especially with the changes and uncertainty that COVID-19 has brought to school and family life. And so, I want to make sure that the terms of the contract are clear so that your family has the information you need as you think about next year.
If your family must make the difficult decision to withdraw from Lowell, you may do so without any further financial obligation to the school by notifying me in writing on or before June 1. If you make the decision to withdraw your child after June 1, you will be responsible for the 2020-2021 tuition. To be fully transparent, if you decide to withdraw now, we cannot promise that a space for your child or financial aid will be available should you change your mind in the future.
I recognize that decisions about next year are particularly difficult for those of you who have very young children and because I cannot tell you what next year will look like. Our ability to make decisions about what next year will look like depends on having a clear picture of our enrollment and revenue.
As announced previously, we will not be charging for next year’s bus service or After Care at this time. Once decisions have been made about what the fall will look like, we will share more about these programs and their cost.
If you have further questions about the enrollment contract or the June 1 binding date, please call Director of Finance and Operations Chris Ginter
for clarification. If you have questions about financial aid, please call Financial Aid Manager Jar Lampard
The Start of School
The 2020-2021 school year will begin as planned after Labor Day. Major dates are already on our online calendar
for your review. While school will officially begin in September, teachers will use the month of August to get to know you and your children and to foster connections between students in various cohorts. I look forward to sharing more about the August plan in the weeks to come. The Lowell Parent Community also runs a Buddy Family program for those who are new to our community, and planning for that is underway as well.
Right now, teachers are focusing on ending the year strong, preparing for conferences, and writing progress reports. This summer, teachers will be planning for the year ahead. By fall they will be ready to teach both on and off campus with a developmentally appropriate curriculum and a stronger sense of what it takes to foster successful learning online in a way that is both true to Lowell’s educational values and also forward thinking. They will also be ready to meet children where they are in their learning through careful assessments at the beginning of the year that will offer a critical input for maximizing learning and engagement.
For those of you making or adjusting summer plans, our summer camp sessions through July 10 will all be virtual. You can find out more about our offerings on the summer camp webpages
and at the Virtual Summer Camp Open House
on Saturday, June 6 from 11:00 am–1:00 pm.
The Auxiliary Programs team is closely monitoring DC’s reopening, as well as advice from health officials, and will make a decision about holding camp on campus for the July 13-31 session closer to that time. We are still hoping some version of in-person camp can be held for children ages K–5th grade.
Keeping the lines of communication open in the weeks and months ahead is important to me, so between now and the fall there will be more opportunities for us to connect than is usual over the summer. Office hours and community meetings will continue, and I plan to stay in touch via email as well. My hope is that these times will allow me not only to update you on task force work and decisions about next year but also to be present for you because I know how challenging the uncertainties are for all of us.
I hope you will join me next Tuesday, June 2 at 7:00 pm for office hours when we will be talking about social-emotional well-being and on June 18 at 7:00 pm for another community meeting.
As we work through the summer, we will be keeping an eye on the decision making of our government and health officials as we engage deeply and intentionally to take on all aspects of school life so that we re-open stronger and better than ever in a few months.
Head of School